Showing posts from May, 2019

The Good Knight (The Gareth & Gwen Medieval Mysteries, Book 1)

The Good Knight (The Gareth & Gwen Medieval Mysteries, Book 1) Sarah Woodbury, 2011 Premise: When Gwen and her family stumble upon a murder on their way to a wedding at the Welsh king’s court, the last person she expects to run into is her old flame Gareth. I saw this book offered as a free promotion just when I was thinking that I wanted a relatively light series to get into. The book's not bad, but I don't think I'll be reading any more in the series. The book (and series) is set in Wales in the 1100s, and the historical setting seems sound for the most part. The characters, the story, and the style were just too bland for me. Gwen is spunky, Gareth is good-hearted, the villain is fairly ridiculously villainous. The only character with some intriguing nuance is the Welsh king's illegitimate son, who both Gwen and Gareth work for (as an informant/observer and a knight respectively). I finished reading the book, but I could feel myself rushing through

Company of Liars

Company of Liars Karen Maitland, 2008 Premise: Nine people travel north through England in 1348, trying to outrun the plague. Each of them hides a secret that might cost their life. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel, marketed as a “reinterpretation of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.” It does contain travel and storytelling, but it has more in common with a mystery novel or a horror movie than that tagline would lead you to believe. And that’s all to the good. The historical detail is complex but never oppressive or distracting, but it’s the characters that carry the story. Each character is one thing on the surface and quite another in reality. The reveals are gradual and natural. The narrative is broken up by stories the characters tell, often to throw others off the trail toward the truth. This is historical fiction that plays out much like a psychological thriller, with a steadily rising sense of foreboding punctuated by violence and death. It’s a compelling, so